Do you suffer from any of these symptoms of kitchen clutter syndrome: Pots and pans in disarray, plastic storage containers stuffed in drawers, canned goods with due dates from the Bush-era? If you do, then you know: This kind of chaos is no place for culinary creativity.
But there is hope.
With a little time, a lot of patience, and a few nifty tools, you can tame your unruly kitchen and even keep future clutter at bay. Here’s how:
1. Empty your cabinets. Before the official purge and organize, it’s important to take stock of what exactly you’re dealing with. Empty out all of the kitchen cabinets to get a clear gauge of what you have
2. Divide and conquer. If you haven’t been storing like items together (if you’re stacking the dishes with the vitamins, you’re not), then it’s time to start. Split your kitchen items into groups (dishes, cookware, canned goods, cleaning supplies). It will make the next several steps much (and we mean MUCH) easier.
3. Learn to let go. Chipped dishes? Storage containers without lids? Stale cereal? That cream of mushroom soup you swore you were going to use but never did? Get rid of it. We’re serious: Throw out unusable items and donate goods that haven’t expired. You don’t need them.
4. Give each item a home. Now that you’ve successfully pared down your kitchenware, it’s time to give each item a specific storage space. Place items you use the most often (dishes, cups, food) in areas that are easiest to reach. Put things that you may not use as often (the breadmaker) in the very upper or lower cabinets. Once again, it’s not too late to give away those things you haven’t used in 10 years–like that really ugly avocado green casserole dish your mom gave you when you first left home.
5. Indulge in organizers and space savers. These helpful tools are going to prevent the stacking and stuffing that launched your kitchen chaos.
We’re talking roll-out drawers to keep pots, pans and cleaning supplies in check, dish and cup racks to prevent cabinet over flow, cutlery organizers to keep drawers looking neat, and bins and baskets to give items like lids, napkins and dish towels a space of their own. If a lack of cabinets is an issue, invest in countertop or hanging space savers. Pot racks, canisters, mug trees, and hooks for pot holders and aprons are all smart buys. Be strategic and thoughtful about your purchases, and invest in organizers that curb the overflow but also leave a little room for new items.
Pictured: Lynk® Professional Wide Roll-Out Under-Cabinet Single Drawer, Wire 20 Dinner Plate Rack by Ten Strawberry Street, Copco Expandable Wire Mesh Cutlery Organizer, Clear Storage Baskets, Cuisinart® Brushed Stainless Steel Octagonal Hanging Pot Rack, OXO SteeL® 5-Piece PressTop Canister Set
6. Kill the junk drawer. We all have one. (Some of us have several - eds.) It’s that drawer that holds packets of soy sauce, menus, buttons, mysterious keys, and probably a few AA batteries. Give these items a home! Organize the menus in a photo album with plastic sleeves (and in the process ditch any duplicates) and purchase a small bin for batteries, lighters, matches, and to store any small, miscellaneous items. As for the plastic cutlery and packets of hot mustard — ditch them.
7. Keep future clutter in check. Be diligent about tossing expired food items, chuck cookware and storage containers that have mysteriously lost their lids, and actually replace old items with newer ones (you don’t need two blenders or two crock pots). Keep the junk in the junk drawer to a minimum by asking restaurants to skip the extra condiments and plastic cutlery in your next take-out order.
Did we forget something? Let us know in the space below.